Foyer is opening up its digital platforms, making the information on its websites and mobile applications accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities. While public sector organisations are already legally obliged to make their websites compliant, Foyer is taking the lead and becoming one of the first private sector companies in Luxembourg to adopt digital accessibility.
Geoffrey Crofte, UX Designer at Foyer and initiator of the process, tells us more about digital accessibility and the responsibility of companies in this area.
We often hear about it these days, but what is digital accessibility?
It’s the concept of making the information on our websites and applications accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities. The underlying idea is simple: to make our services accessible, robust, consistent, and easy to use for as many people as possible, with an emphasis on listening to people with disabilities.
How did you take your first steps in digital accessibility?
I learned early on to take the individual into account in my work. At the beginning of my career, my colleagues in a web agency (Alsacréations, in Alsace) made me aware of the particularities of accessible website development. Since then, I have always kept this in mind with everything I do on a daily basis. During 2021, I had the opportunity to work with a department of the grand-ducal administration on the beta version of their mobile repository. This rekindled my attention and interest in the subject.
“Digital media must be able to reach as many people as possible […] because committing to accessibility now means allowing current and future generations to live better, and more respectfully.”
Why is Foyer suddenly interested?
I think it’s my fault 😀
To clarify the framework, you have to know that CSR is a pillar of our corporate strategy. Foyer has a CSR governance, with multiple initiatives led by the Group’s employees, which are supported by its directors and members of the Executive Committee. In 2021, we obtained the ESR label from the INDR. I took advantage of this opportunity and my sensitivity to the subject of accessibility to present the issue to Charlotte Bourret-Waton, our CSR manager. Interest in this subject was strong and quickly supported by the management, whom I thank again for their unfailing support.
Why would an insurance company need it?
The reality behind digital accessibility is mainly that this subject is very much unknown to the general public, but also to professionals from all walks of life, despite the efforts of our French or Dutch neighbours on the subject.
Everyone needs it, not just the insurance sector. But it is even more true for our sector, whose main social role is to propose a mutualisation between individuals, between people who encounter problems in their life, and those who are lucky enough not to have encountered any (without wishing them on anyone).
It is with this mission in mind that inclusivity in general, and accessibility more specifically, are now at the heart of the Foyer Group’s digital developments (but not only).
Isn’t there a legal framework around the subject of digital accessibility?
Yes. Unfortunately, this framework does not yet cover private companies, only administrative departments, which are obliged to comply, in particular thanks to audits by an internal department of the administration (1).
However, in the course of 2025, the European Accessibility Act should be transposed into national law by EU Member States and will cover a wider spectrum of private companies. In this respect, Foyer is ahead of the game without being obliged to.
Even if this legislation does not yet exist, the law of 28 November 2006 on equal treatment still condemns discrimination in Luxembourg.
So, you are telling us that every professional is concerned?
Yes. All professionals who communicate via digital media are concerned: video, audio, podcast, website, application, PDF files, etc. Digital media must be able to reach as many people as possible, and not only because it is synonymous with increased profitability, but because committing to accessibility now means allowing current and future generations to live better, and more respectfully.
(1) This is the May 28, 2019 law on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector organizations.
Editor’s note: This article is brought to you by Foyer and only reflects the opinion of the author.
This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Read the full digital version of the magazine on our website, here. You can also choose to receive a hard copy at the office or at home. Subscribe now.